Tagged White Shark caught and eaten in Mozambique

Press Release


October 30, 2012

Tagged White Shark Brenda Captured, Killed by Mozambique Fishermen

It has been confirmed that a 3.6 meter female White Shark tagged 8 March 2012 in Mossel Bay by the non-profit group OCEARCH and a team of leading South African scientists was captured and killed off the coast of Mozambique.  Caught in a gill net, the shark given the name Brenda by the OCEARCH team was harvested by village fishermen who gave the meat to the village and sold the fins.

Chris Fischer, along with the scientists who worked with OCEARCH to tag over 30 white sharks off the coast of South Africa, were affected by the news.  Said Fischer: “We were all saddened to hear of the demise of Brenda, a magnificent female great white shark.” OCEARCH waited on issuing a statement until the facts were clear.  Those facts, and the recovery of the transmitter, were obtained thanks to the perseverance of a team assembled by Hannah Darrin from Eyes on the Horizon, a local Mozambique NGO, and led by Gabriel Marime of Bitonga Divers.  Jess Williams, another member on the team, took photos of the recovery mission.

Marime, Darrin and Williams travelled a significant distance through remote areas to determine the details of the shark’s disappearance.  They were able to retrieve the transmitter for OCEARCH and document its recovery, for which Fischer, OCEARCH and the scientists were deeply grateful.

“We appreciate the amazing efforts of Gabriel, Hannah and Jess to retrieve the transmitter and document the recovery,” said Fischer.  He added:  “While it is unfortunate that an animal protected in South Africa has been taken in Mozambique, her transmitter tag movements on the OCEARCH Global Shark Tracker http://sharks-ocearch.verite.com have opened the eyes of the public on how very real the threat is to shark populations around the world. Tens of millions of sharks are harvested every year, the overwhelming majority of whose fate is neither tracked or revealed.  The promise for sound resource management lies in the dedication and hard work of South Africa’s scientists who tagged sharks with OCEARCH and are now conducting previously impossible studies.  The data they are in the process of generating is critical to the future of White sharks both in South Africa and the many areas they travel outside the region.”

Ryan Johnson, Chief Scientist for the OCEARCH tagging expeditions underscored the importance of regional cooperation: “Brenda’s capture in Mozambique was a tragic illustration of a very real truth about Africa’s large migratory sharks, that is, they do not respect national marine boundaries. For this region to effectively conserve sharks we require strong and continued regional cooperation between nations.  As the regional economic powerhouse, the South African government must use this unambiguous evidence to initiate engagement with other member nations of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on cooperative legislation to conserve our shared shark resources.”

Fischer is optimistic that sound policy can be enacted, understanding it will take cooperation between governments:  ”Since we have this data point and we know that South Africa’s Great White Sharks are migrating into areas that include Mozambique, a regional management plan needs to be developed.  This event should demonstrate it is crucial for South Africa and Mozambique to work together to protect these threatened apex predators.  Also, in terms of the significance of white shark related ecotourism (particularly shark cage diving) for the economy in South Africa, it is important for the South African government to promote regional cooperation with regard to shark management, given the apparent threats to the shark population in other countries of the region.”

Contact: Chris Berger, press@OCEARCH.org



  1. Angel

    First of all I want to thank Ocearch and all of its members and associates for putting together this wonderful setup.

    The web site is the best I came across so far in every measure for tracking sharks. Very good job…

    I have witnessed so many of these similar situations almost all around the globe. Not necessarily for GWS but for other shark species as well.

    Some people kill them for money while some kill for fun and unfortunately some kill to live.

    The end result is tragic to the animal for whatever reason is there at the final stage.
    I am sure you all very well know the fact that almost all of the
    Shark species are migratory and keeps crossing borders to protected areas and to open oceans where there is absolutely no control.

    At some part of this vast journey, they will be killed. Actually there is no difference if she is killed in Mozambique or in the middle of the Atlantic or Indian Ocean where you can never know
    the faith of the animal, if it is a malfunction or actually the animal is dead.
    At the end it is killed. Like almost 100,000,000 sharks a year.
    That is a shame. In this case your effort is wasted. I am sorry for her.

    I want to add a little note on how things change in the world in considerably short times as a reference.

    South Africa and Australia both have a healthy and a good size GWS population.
    Both of these nations protect them with strict rules within their territorial waters.
    (Things are changing in WA in Australia due to shark attacks, Now they may kill if they want to ???)

    We all know that up to mid 70’s GWS hunting(fishing) was a popular sport in both countries with hundreds of GWS jaws was in display as trophies

    I am sure you have better numbers then I have. They were hunted for fun, for money and to protect the swimmers.

    I have seen many glorious pictures of brave and noble man stepping on Great Whites.

    Times changed and by many reasons these countries were almost the first to give protection status to GWS.

    In 40 years these countries changed from killers to protectors.

    I want to think in the next 40 years Mozambique will have the same status along with all the nations of the globe.
    A real protection status where no shark is hunted and it is strictly reinforced.
    The problem is the difficulty in calculating if there will be any sharks left in the oceans in 40 years.
    Or if there will be some nations that will over ride this status like they do with whales now.
    Japan, Iceland and a few others.
    Modern nations, highly educated, high living status and most important, they still kill for high monetary valued meat.
    Not for hunger or nutritional needs.

    So it means, killing is nothing to do how “well being” position. how thrive, you are being in. (unlike Mozambique) but because of a basic human weakness.

    Because of the movie Jaws and media pumping tragedies, shark kill may be justified in the certain number of general public’s eyes.
    What about whales ? Nobody from the general public justifies whale killing.
    other than whalers and the people who buys the meat at 50 USD per pound.

    All of these discussions about sharks were being done for whales in 50’s and 60’s.
    They got the global protection status.
    Mostly harmless species comparing to sharks.
    But even today after 50 years of global protection
    Whales still are killed by modern man.
    Over 1,000 a year. Compare this number to the shark population, roughly population wise, around 1,000,000 sharks a year. Give or take a few thousand.

    Even if you have changed, became protectors out of hunters, even all the globe protects the sharks, even if you teach all the world how magnificent these animals are, even if you explain all the world that killing the sharks
    Is killing the oceans. They will still kill…

    So please keep up the good work you did so far. Stop crying over Brenda and keep tagging… Show the world the facts… How vulnerable these giants are.. and wish them all good luck…

    For humanity, I am afraid, all we can do is pray…

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